Review: ‘Carefree’

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, with an Irving Berlin set of four good songs, delve into psychoanalysis for their script [from an original story by Marian Ainslee and Guy Endore]. The result may inspire some to wonder if the psyching shouldn't have started in the studio. It's a disappointing story and leaves the viewer bewildered, with Astaire hypnotizing his co-star; Rogers walking to the altar, obsessed with the hypnotic suggestion that Astaire is a cad and Ralph Bellamy a nobleman, etc.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, with an Irving Berlin set of four good songs, delve into psychoanalysis for their script [from an original story by Marian Ainslee and Guy Endore]. The result may inspire some to wonder if the psyching shouldn’t have started in the studio. It’s a disappointing story and leaves the viewer bewildered, with Astaire hypnotizing his co-star; Rogers walking to the altar, obsessed with the hypnotic suggestion that Astaire is a cad and Ralph Bellamy a nobleman, etc.

Still, in the dream sequence, as result of a sedative administered by Dr Astaire, the team does one of its best double numbers (‘Color Blind’ is the tune), wherein a slow-motion camera truly points up the poetry of their terpsichorean motion.

Astaire’s very first specialty, a golf-ball dance, gives it a fast gait, but pretty soon the story asserts its handicaps. Astaire, as part of a flirtation routine, gives out in swingo-highland fling via mouth-organ, thence into a dash of 52nd street hoot-mon, and the topper is that rhythmic routine, driving off a flock of golf balls from the green.

Rogers, while under hypnotic influence, reminds of some of the inhibitions that Paramount’s If I Had a Million so brightly presented. Here she shatters plate-glass windows, baits policemen, and even broadcasts that her sponsor (she’s a radio songstress) puts out the poorest product.

Carefree

Production

RKO. Director Mark Sandrich; Producer Pandro S. Berman; Screenplay Ernest Pagano, Allan Scott, Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde; Camera Robert de Grasse; Editor William Hamilton; Music Victor Baravalle (dir.); Art Director Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1938. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers Ralph Bellamy Luella Gear Jack Carson Clarence Kolb

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